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She is prone to gas colic

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  • She is prone to gas colic

    A friend just called me about his gas colic prone horse after vet left, asking for my advice. I have minimal experience with gas colic prone horses, so I am hoping that someone else here can give advice.

    Vet was just there. Vet gave banamine, and I think tubed fluids(?). Vet said to feed horse some sand clear for a week and to put on probiotics. Horse's owner is asking me if he should give her a round of ulcergard after sand clear. I said it depends. He was wondering if ulcers would cause the flehmen response. I said that response is not a typical sign of ulcers. Then I found out more about how the horse is managed and said, sure maybe she could have ulcers.

    I didn't have much to add since I don't have much experience with that except maybe try Succeed or oat flour?

    Here are details on the horse:

    16 yr old fat mare who has been known to colic (mainly flehmen response) in past after eating spring grass (horse not on grass).

    Owner is very out of touch with horse care, and has a lady who is in charge of worming. Said horse recently wormed but no idea with what. Said horse was wormed "awhile ago" with a power pack.

    Horses are only fed 2x per day, 2 flakes diet hay a.m., 2 flakes p.m. - in some sort of weird slow hay feeder that the horse has to work on to get hay out of? (not sure of name, plus I haven't seen feeders).

    1/2 scoop senior in a.m. plus vitamins.

    Sometimes feeder is pushed outside into sand/gravel paddock when horse tries to get hay out.

    Horses do not go out in grass pastures because they are all too fat. They get turned out sometimes in pea gravel indoor arena, and this mare is worked 3 days per week by the lady.

    I suggested breaking up the two feedings/4 flakes of hay per day into 3-4 feedings which is more natural, not allowing hay feeder to go into sand paddock, and also trying Succeed or oat flour.

    Does anyone have any other advice?


    Last edited by Dutch Lovin' Dressage Rider; May. 30, 2012, 11:26 PM.

  • #2
    Equi-Spazz. It is a Digel or Gas-X in a paste tube for horses. Works wonders in 15 minutes. Does not mask serious symptoms. If no relief within 30 min, you probably need a vet.

    You can give it if you just suspect colic (flehman is my mare's sign, too), which does wonders for the owner as well.

    It's $15 a tube, and I keep a few on hand.


    • #3
      Horses exhibit pain in any number of different ways. This mare's flehmen response isn't indicative of ulcer/ gas/ displacement any more than pawing or flank watching is of impaction or torsion.

      Horses become 'gassy' for a number of reasons. It's possible there's a problem with her stomach, yes, based upon what her food regimen is. But it's also very possible that there's an obstruction that intermittently blocks/ slows the passage of digesta, slowing fermentation, increasing gas.

      I once knew a horse like this one, who suffered from 'intermittent gas colic'. Seemed every 10 days to 2 weeks he'd colic. Lived on Neighlox, extruded feed, never an empty belly, dewormed regularly, managed closely. Never saw an improvement in the 3+yrs I knew him. Lost touch with him when I moved on, only to later meet him on the surgery table for a bad colic some 5yrs later. He had a strangulating lypoma the size of a baseball.. and fully recovered.

      Knew another mare, same backstory. Same end result after laparotomy. Both of these horses were 'fat', as you describe yours..

      Can your friend afford surgery if he continues?


      • #4
        My morgan is prone to gas colics, had a run of them until I figured out the triggers, for him it was clover in his pasture along hay that was very high in WSC. I had put up 3 kinds of hay that year and tested them all. One, a brome, was low in everything except WSC which was super high. Katy Watts suggested its possibly very high fructans which ferment in the gut causing excessive gas. Hay looked ordinary from every angle, one would never suspect the crazy high WSC. And all the hay came from the same farmer, only the brome was off kilter.

        I noticed every time I fed the brome he became gassy. If I fed brome and let him graze a bit on the pasture with clover, we would have a gas colic. And he displays his discomfort with a flehmen while either moonwalking or parking out.

        While my morgan is fat now, he was not that fat at the time. Very hard to manage weight on though.

        I found that 1 tb of ground ginger (powder) in his feed eliminated gas and he never gas colicked again, despite sometimes getting either clover or brome. I did make sure he never had both simultaneously again however, and if I do ever get a hay with unusually high WSC I'm going ot have to restrict grazing again.

        FWIW I too have the equi-spazz and never used it, I bought it around the time I started the ginger.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • #5
          Plain old ordinary x-tra strength Gas-x Tablets work fine and are much cheaper. Many horses will eat them right out of your hand if they are the right flavor. My b/o's protocol when horses show any sign of colic includes 1 Gax-X per 100 lbs, which has been the vet's recommendation for many years. We keep boxes of the stuff for emergency use.
          Providence sometimes takes care of idiots. Agnes Morley Cleaveland in No Life for a Lady.


          • #6
            Wouldn't it take rather a long time for something like Gas-X to get to where the gas buildup is in a horse? Isn't it usually in the cecum, which is pretty far along a pretty long gut system?
            "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

            Spay and neuter. Please.


            • #7
              I tried Gas-X tabs, but my mare isn't interested in eating if she is feeling colicky. So the paste is the answer.

              It doesn't take a long time for EquiSpazz to work. Within 15-20m. They suggest a second tube at 30 min if no relief, and then after that, consult a vet.


              • #8
                My horse had frequent gas colics and when scoped was diagnosed with an ulcer. After gastrogard treatment for 2 months, all colic episodes stopped.


                • #9
                  I agree with the Equi-spaz and it can be given with banamine. It's good to keep some on hand because it works quickly enough that you can even avoid a vet visit and if it doesn't work, you haven't wasted a lot of time before getting the vet out there.

                  I have a 22 year old retired warmblood here who is a hothouse flower. He used to colic on a regular basis before he came here. He has been here since October of last year and since two days after he got here, the first time he colicked was last Monday when it was 96 and MUGGY MUGGY MUGGY here. The first thing I did was hose him down to cool him off. Then I gave him banamine and (on the vet's advice) two half doses of equi-spaz 1/2 hour apart. After the first dose, he calmed right down within about 20 minutes. After the second dose and another 15 minutes, he was snoozing, back foot cocked. No vet visit needed.

                  This is a horse with a history of both ulcers and gas colic. Before he came here he had clicked five times in four months and he also colicked two days after he got here. The owners (who have always boarded and aren't that savvy on day to day care) were told he could only have a pound of grain twice a day or he would colick. He was about a two on the Henneke scale when he arrived here, now he is between a four and a five. My DH, who is not a horse person at all asked me why he was so skinny the first time he saw him, he was that bad. He now eats Sentinel LS (Blue Seal) and soaked alfalfa pellets (3 1/2 pounds of each twice a day) along with all the second cutting timothy/alfalfa mixed hay he can put away. The alfalfa is great for horses with ulcers because it is high in calcium. Since he first got here, Monday was the first time he colicked and he's actually eating like the 1250 pound animal he should be. As far as supplements, he gets U-gard pellets twice a day, generic Omeprazole powder once a day and also a mega dose of Vitamin E once a day because he also has shivers and that is supposed to help with that.

                  Damrock Farm


                  • #10
                    I notice that a lot of horses that have frequent "gas colics" often respond very well to a double dose of neighlox followed by a tube of gastrogard.

                    In general it is a sign of a improperly working digestion track.

                    Also, OP, the slow feeder device is a GOOD thing! It can be the equivalent of doing double the meals or more. A proper slow feeder that leaves hay in front of them 24/7 is actually better than simply splitting meals. The more time working their mouth to get the food, the more saliva that is being produced which is vital to a healthy digestive tract.

                    Has the horse been tested for sand or is it just being assumed it's a problem?


                    • #11
                      To follow up on the spring grass and gassiness question - As mentioned on another thread, I have a pony who can be a bit dramatic about lying down at night. Lots of 'poop grunts' and groans when he lays down around 9-10pm ish. I've gone out and sat with him a bit when he gets dramatic and he does seem gassy. The grunting spells are often followed by passing gas.

                      It's been a bit worse the last few weeks and the only change in his feed (besides opening new bags of senior feed) has been transitioning him from cut feed to grazing. The cut feed was mostly green cornstalk, and now he is grazing on real grass. We started him in very not lush areas on a short tie line but maybe he's having problems anyway? After a month?

                      He goes out to graze by 7am, has a 60' circle of grass and forbs to pick and munch in, and comes in by 5:30 pm. He has been getting 2 lb of senior feed and maybe 10 pounds of fresh cut long stem bermuda(?) grass at 6:30- 7. I'm starting to wean him off the senior feed since he's now up to weight and won't need the extra calories.

                      What would be the most likely culprit if he's gassy at 9?
                      HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                      www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog


                      • #12
                        I'd keep this horse on a good quality probiotic plus something like Platinum Performance which has the biosponge in it. This helps to trap any toxins that might get into the GI system.
                        I'd also probably just give the Platinum & no feed, just good quality hay.
                        I've had great luck with succeed & still have one mare on it now.
                        Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians View Post
                          I'd keep this horse on a good quality probiotic plus something like Platinum Performance which has the biosponge in it. This helps to trap any toxins that might get into the GI system.
                          I'd also probably just give the Platinum & no feed, just good quality hay.
                          I've had great luck with succeed & still have one mare on it now.
                          Where are you getting the Biosponge? Except for the tubes for goals, I've not been able to find it.


                          • #14
                            I would scope and/or treat the horse with 30 days of gastrogard and start it on a probiotic and Equishure (http://www.ker.com/equishure/).
                            Originally posted by EquineImagined
                            My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                            • #15
                              I had a mare that had "gas colics" frequently. Did a uterine culture and discovered a nasty infection. After the infection was cleared up she never had another colic.

                              Could be something to atleast eliminate.